Ben Huang, Resident Doctor, Emergency Medicine, University of British Columbia
Already fighting a global pandemic, doctors in Vancouver are now facing an outbreak of dysentery in the Downtown Eastside, the poorest neighborhood in the city.
The disease, called shigellosis, is caused by a highly contagious bacterium known as shigella, which causes symptoms of dysentery: profuse mucous or even bloody diarrhea, low-grade fevers and abdominal cramps. Shigellosis usually occurs in developing countries where sanitation is poor, making an outbreak in urban Vancouver, where I work as a resident emergency doctor, highly unusual.
“I don’t ever remember there being a previous outbreak … in the Downtown Eastside,” says Dr. Daniel Kalla, head of the emergency department at St. Paul’s Hospital in downtown Vancouver.
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